Meeting Minutes December, 2000

As there was no meeting this month, there are no meeting minutes. They will return next issue.


Dues are due as of the January meeting. If you can't make it to the meeting, please mail a check for $40.00 payable to "Arizona Lo-Rangers" to Ed Lyons, 936 E Wesleyan Dr, Tempe AZ 85282.

Trip Report: Dave Hickman's Back Yard (with a vengence)

by Glenn McConnell

Well, it was another beautiful Saturday afternoon in Chandler, AZ. Anyone with an axle to grind or a U-joint to grenade converged on what is the only 4.5+ rated BACK YARD known by this writer… Dave Hickman’s Rock Garden.

The day started out with this writer having memory troubles and not being able to locate the place. I finally just started looking over the 8-foot block walls and finally saw a truck whose frame rails were above said wall, and I knew I was there.

The usual bunch was in attendance… Hickman, Mr. Ed, "Danger" Dave, Matt in the FJ, Ian Liljeblad, Jim Allen, Troy of "Toys By Troy", Oscar from AZ Drivelines (Gloecoe). You may not know all the names, but you definitely know the rides. The carnage started promptly at high noon and continued until dark.

Throughout the day many people tried the rock garden, some succeeded, most failed. I actually did one of the tamer rock piles and had a good time with Beaker trying to roll me.

The first damage of the day probably goes to Danger Dave (because it was like that when I got there). He had somehow managed to tear one of the hard lines for his rear brakes in half, leaving him with little-to-no brakes throughout most of the day. This did not even begin to deter him in his quest for fun and he continued to attack the boulder piles. Really, I could not tell any difference in his very wild and animated driving style… until he started hitting rocks larger than him to try and slow down a bit.

The pictures of the yellow buggy show a truly crafted vehicle. The vehicle began life as a Jeep TJ, but met its demise in that form due to a severe accident. The current owner has resurrected the vehicle in a manner that Daimler-Chrysler never expected. I forgot the owner’s name, but would love for him to contact our editor in chief, as we would like to do a feature article for this creation. Admittedly, this vehicle drew quite a bit of attention at the rock garden. Some of you may have seen it in Moab, UT, apparently that is where it has been hiding most of its life. No matter how good the buggy looked, or how well built it is, it, too, suffered substantial damage when it encountered the Rock Garden. Carnage was in the form of a 5-quart oil pan being, literally, taco’d into about a 3 quart one, and an auto tranny pan suffering much the same fate. To the builder/driver’s credit, nothing leaked out and the Jeep could be seen climbing on the rocks several times later in the day.

Around mid-day, Danger Dave found himself in a tight spot… underneath Big Iron, under the crazy hands of Troy, and finding a yellow creation called "Twister" crawling across his back-end. This started a friendly feud as the three began chasing one-another over the garden, through the yard and around the house. The first casualty of this expensive game of chase was Dave attempting to return the favor of being climbed to Big Iron and promptly rolling on his side. Barely failing to increase Hickman’s back yard size by putting the roof of his truck through the block wall. He really was close, missing the wall by mere inches. This brought cheers and jeers from all in attendance. A quick tug from Troy and Dave was at it again, this time vowing revenge. His revenge was first unleashed on Twister in the rock pile, pinning him between a rock and a hard place. This action only succeeded in getting both vehicles stuck and needing a tug from Big Iron to separate the two star-crossed lovers (?).

Next on the list of redemption was the collision of Troy into Dave’s rear-end. As the $600 monster-truck shock on Big Iron’s front-end ruptured, a stream of hot hydraulic fluid was seen spewing some thirty feet into the air. After this, and since the sun was quickly setting, Big Iron went in for the day while some others continued to play in the rocks.

Once the sun was down, and dark had fallen across the desert, those that remained gathered inside the massive garage on the property. We were all entertained by Mark and his friend Becky performing an odd wrestling match for us. Then a collection was taken and pizza was ordered.

We all sat around eating, drinking, and telling tales and raunchy jokes until late in the evening. Just enjoying the memories we took from the day, the friends we got to see again, and the time with our sport… the sport of Rock Crawling.

Trip Report: Lo-Rangers Christmas Party

December 16, by Scott Nixon

Members in attendance:

Babcock family, one ton Blazer

Gersztyn family, faded Willys Wagon

Munzer family, CJ7 with bent axle

Murphy family, primer Blazer

Mike Tutor and Couch family, Bronco

Nixon family, beater Dodge Ram

Blanford family, Suzuki

Lorden family, painted Willys Wagon

John Tash, Cherokee

Linda Luik, Grand Cherokee

Steve Graham, diesel Scout

Bill Scheller, shiny Dodge Ram

Brian Berg, Jeep

We all met outside the gates to Bull Dog wash off of the Bush highway and waited until the standard fifteen minutes after the planned upon departure time. That turned out to be a good time as somebody else was headed out of the trail and they left the gate open for us after Linda showed them our permit.

A little ways down the trail we met up with Mike and the gang in the Bronco, they had come in the long way and were waiting at the trail intersection for everybody else. I continued down the wash marveling at all of the lush vegetation that had sprung up since last year. Just as I as wondering if I would even be able to find "Air Dam(n)" rock I turned a corner and there it was.

Wasting no time, I popped it into four low and set my front drivers tire up against it and gave it a bit of gas. My new Tru-Trac front did it's job nicely, pulling me up nice and smoothly. Not to be out done, Bill pulled up next to me in his Ram and climbed the other side for a nice picture.

I backed down to give everyone else a chance to play, and so I could get my tailgate open. Steve and John pitched in with their grills, and we soon had lots of thick juicy burgers sizzling. While a few tried their luck on the rock, the rest dug into the many delicious side dishes and the hot-off-the-grill burgers.

After everyone had their fill, Linda rounded up everyone for a "crawl-off". Rules were simple: drive down to the second set of cones, then back up to the starting line without hitting your brakes. Slowest rig goes on to the next round. A few tried bending the rules a bit for any advantage they could; using 2hi to get bogged down in the sand, running the AC for more engine drag, sawing the wheel back and forth. In the end it came down to gearing as Ted's granny-low Willys edged out Charlie's double-tcase Blazer. The two finalists celebrated with an impromptu drag race.

Mike and Charlie hadn't had their fill of fun and games yet, so they strapped their rigs together and tried a tug-of-war. As the spectators scattered for safety 16 cylinders and several tons of Detroit iron went at it. Neither vehicle made much forward progress, but the Blazer did demonstrate the excavating ability of Super Swampers.

After the Blazer was tugged out from its frame deep holes, we loaded up the leftovers and headed on down the wash towards Usery Pass road. The sun was at just the right angle to make it difficult; at several points I was blinded and had to crawl forward slowly until I came back into the shadows, only to find a rock wall right in front of my truck. Despite this, we all made it safely out to the gate.

Once again we had a great turn out and a great time. Thanks again to Steve and John for the help with the grilling. Hope to see everybody out there next year!

Editors Corner

Seeing as my expert proofreader is out of town this month, I'll keep this short and sweet. The way I figure it, the less I type, the fewer mistakes I'll make.

Anyway, my hope is that as each month goes by the newsletter will continue to improve. I've still got a lot to learn about Microsoft Word. Just tonight I figured out how to add pictures without having to hunt them down in the document and resize them so they fit where I wanted them in the first place. I still hate the program, but at least the profanity-per-page ratio is growing smaller.

I'll end this with a gentle reminder that is is YOUR newsletter. I'm simply editor; although I'm happy to write trip reports if I was there and will gladly share my numerous 'wheeling pictures, I'd be more than happy to use whatever content you can provide me with. Trip reports, pictures, "For Sale" or "Wanted" adds, jokes, etc are always welcome.

Scott Nixon,


Calendar of Events

January 20 and 21: The 10th annual
PAPAGO MILITARY VEHICLE SHOW. There will be: Jeeps, Armored Cars, Cargo Trucks, Unimogs, Hummers, Artillery, Troop Carriers, and Tanks. At the Arizona Military Museum 52nd Street and East McDowell Road. For more information call: Daytime- 602-267-2676 Evenings- 602-840-5019

January 20: Miners revenge. Trip leader is Linda Luik. Meet at the Florence Junction Texaco at 8:00 AM. See trail description elsewhere in the newsletter.

January 31: Monthly club meeting, 7pm at Peter Piper Pizza, North-East corner of Alma School and Elliot. Dues are due at this meeting!

February 17: Probably about time to hit our adopt-a-trail Mud Springs?

March 17: Anybody do Reno Pass lately?

April 21: Red Creek if it's still open and I have a spare u-joint and a 1 3/4" socket?

May 19: Safford or Chiva Falls or?

June 9-16: MOAB! Start planning now, because you can't say we didn't warn you!

Trail description: Miner's Revenge

Trail rating: 4.5 with a winch obstacle
Minimum equipment recommended: A winch (at least one vehicle on the trail ride should have one), 33" or larger dia tires, and at least one functional traction aiding device (two are better)

The Miner's Revenge trail was re-established by the AZVJC in 2000. The first section of the trail is a steep downhill with
many small waterfalls and boulders. The second part of the trail has two squeeze obstacles than can be very challenging, then more rock crawling, and a waterfall that is about 20ft high and has a 50-deg slope. So far, no one has driven up the waterfall without winch assistance, but I know it can be done. The trail is about a mile long and is a loop. There is an escape route at the halfway point on the trail.

Notes: (1) Full-size 4x4s are guaranteed body damage on this trail, particularly on the second half. (2) Bring spare parts if you have them. This trail is very hard on suspension and drivetrain parts (3) Jeeps on trailers can be towed close to the trailhead. (4) Bring warm clothing, food, and water. We could be on the trail after dark.

I will be camping out after the trail ride, but those wishing to make it a day trip can head home on their own.

Anyone interested in coming out should
contact me (Linda Luik) about a week before the trail ride. I should have a better idea of the trail condition by then. Phone: (480) 834-1171 Email:

Newsletter Cover Photo

This month's cover photo is Bill Scheller and I playing on "Air Dam" rock at this year's Christmas party.


I'm looking for a 38" tire I can buy as a spare. It needs to be approximately 38" diameter and fit on a 16" or 16.5" rim. I don't care about the width or tread. I'll buy it with or without a rim. I don't care about the tread but I want the tire to be in good enough condition to get me back home from wheelin'. Call Charlie at 480-812-9101.

Joke of the month

Who needs RTI when you can check your CTI (Camaro travel index). And yes, for those of you who are wondering, that is a Dodge Ram!